Even with its above average cover art and an interesting storyline, I was at first a little hesitant to read this comic. The whole lore surrounding Batman and the city of Gotham seems to be everywhere these days, from comics to movies and now even television, all contributing to my initial hesitation. I mean, how will this comic series add anything different to the over saturated market it now inhabits?
As it turns out, “Gotham by Midnight” #1 is an excellent first issue, delving into a horror and supernatural theme that seemed very natural in a city such as Gotham and made me wonder why something like this had not been attempted before now.
The story, written by Ray Fawkes, introduces us to Sergeant Rock from Internal Affairs, who has orders to investigate and shut down GCPD Precinct 13, a small but determined task force still fighting the good fight in the dark corners of Gotham. Of course, Sgt. Rock really has no idea what he has just walked into and to that point, what exactly the small force of Precinct 13 battles each and every day.
Fawkes uses this plot device well, not making things too complicated for the reader but at the same time, making us think as we turn the pages and get deeper into the story. For instance, Detectives Jim Corrigan and Lisa Drake seem very similar to a certain FBI duo from The X-Files but it all takes place under a much darker atmosphere that has a sense of dread hanging over the detectives at every turn.
The art and colors by Ben Templesmith are not only a wonderful compliment to Fawkes story but a stand out in its own right. Everything from the drab but eerie coloring of the precinct to the strange and creepy design of the swamp and what lies within it, Templesmith is a force to be reckoned with in the comic. Even the faces of the characters involved show an emotion that shows off Templesmith’s talent and compliments Fawkes story in the best way possible, making for a truly enjoyable read.
The story has an interesting balance between what appears to be bland, everyday police work and the strange and supernatural they investigate in the both inside and outside the confines of the city of Gotham. One of the bigger surprises for me was how the horror element of the story grabbed me with its simple but terrifying plot arc and did it in such a way they didn’t seem cheap or something that was done simply to try and hook the reader and then leave them hanging in a plot wasteland.
I found little in this comic to complain about, except how it ended and made me wait for the next issue. With Fawkes great story and Templesmith’s wonderful art and colors, Gotham by Midnight was a great read from start to finish. A wonderful exploration of all things supernatural and horrific that live within the shadows of Gotham and dare you do to follow them outside the city to what lies beyond.
For fans of Gotham and the darker side of things, this is a great first comic that I highly recommend you pick up.